Denis Peirce: Salmon sticking to fresh water
The salmon season off the coast has been a disappointment so far this year.
The seas have been rough, frequently preventing the boats from getting out. When they do get out, the results have been mediocre most days. A typical scenario is the party boats fishing for salmon for the first few hours of the day and then turning to rock fish to put fish on board. Fortunately the rock fish have responded well to the closed season. They are larger and more abundant than in recent years.
The best fishing reports for Bay Area boats have come from San Pablo Bay. The salmon smolts that have been trucked from the hatcheries to the bay have attracted large numbers of stripers. The party boats were getting quick limits last week and then finishing out the day picking up a few halibut in San Francisco Bay.
The poor showing for salmon in salt water is the opposite of what is happening in the Sacramento Valley rivers. The salmon count at Red Bluff is way up from last year. The only place to try for salmon currently is on the Feather River from Oroville down to the Highway 20 bridge at Yuba City.
For the last couple weeks there have been three to five fish taken every morning at the after bay hole. In the last few days there has been a jump in the number of fish stacking up in the low flow section in downtown Oroville. The balance of the Feather River and the Sacramento River reopen to salmon fishing mid July.
There had been a good trout/steelhead bite in the Feather River low flow section late afternoons as the insect hatches came off. Craig Bentley of Huntington’s Sportman’s in Oroville identified four different species of caddis, various midges and a large mayfly coming off each evening. He noted that he had not seen hatches this heavy in many years. The water temps in the low flow start at 60 degrees early and rise to 67 by late in the day.
He has been doing well fly fishing evenings. Most of the fish have been 12 to 20 inches. These fish are similar in description to the trout found on the lower Yuba River below Englebright. The fishing on the lower Yuba is experiencing a similar upturn in the last few weeks.
The shad fishing on the Sacramento River has finally come on strong. John from the Chico Fly Shop said that above and below Chico the fishing has been good. The good results have not yet come from Red Bluff. This is a late date for the shad to finally turn on. Bank access continues to decline as the years go by. Boat access is your best bet.
Above us up Highway 20, I received a report from Ed Everhart who fished Scotts Flat last Thursday morning. He was on the water at first light and fished until late morning. He noted that the bass were in shallow water early and progressively got deeper as the sun got higher. There was no top water bite. Most of his fish came on white/white spinner baits early in 6 to 8 feet of water.
As the day progressed the fish moved down to the 20-30 foot depth. The deep fish responded to “shaking” soft plastics on the bottom. Ed watched the trollers on the lake and did not notice them land anything. Later in the day, one boat anchored in the creek channel and were landing fish on bait set-ups.
Up at Fuller Lake, Tony Dumont of the Nevada City Angler reports the trout fishing is good. Fly anglers have been doing well fishing the edges with a black caddis dry fly. There is a dark caddis that hatches every year on fuller Lake. This bug frequents the lakeside bushes and the trout are looking for them on the surface. Bait anglers do well with power bait set ups near the boat ramp.
The annual hexagenia hatch up on Lake Almanor has started. I have heard from more than one source that the bugs are present in the evenings. The hatch usually peaks between the solstice and Fourth of July weekend. Another lake hatch to look for in the Sierra is the damsel fly. It peaks at the summer solstice at elevations above 4,000-feet.
Denis Peirce writes a weekly fishing column for The Union and is host of “The KNCO Fishing & Outdoor Report,” which airs 6-7 p.m. Fridays and 5-6 a.m. Saturdays on 830-AM radio. He may be reached via e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Red Bluff Diversion Dam salmon count for the last three days:
June 17, 2007 = 69
June 16, 2007 = 92
June 15, 2007 = 61
Year to date 2007 = 1446 salmon
Year to date 2006 = 897 salmon
* We are printing the salmon counts at Red Bluff as a indicator of the valley salmon run in general. Salmon fishing on the Sacramento River is closed until mid July. Check the regulations for open areas on the Feather River.
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New season. New co-head coaches. Same expectations.